Two area football teams that are favorites to claim state championships in their respective classifications also have a pair of Mr. Football finalists. When the TSSAA released its list of finalists for the state’s top individual football honor Tuesday, both Baylor and South Pittsburg had two finalists each.
Baylor senior offensive tackle Barrett Gouger, a Vanderbilt commitment, is one of three finalists for the Division II-AA Lineman of the Year and teammate Henrique Ribeiro for Kicker of the Year.
South Pittsburg senior offensive lineman and linebacker Coltin Blevins is a finalist for Class 1A Lineman of the Year and sophomore Jajuan Lankford is up for Back of the Year.
The 27th annual Mr. Football Awards will be presented to the top 10 backs and linemen in five classifications on November 28 at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Murfreesboro.
Ribeiro is 7-of-10 in field-goal attempts, including a long of 57-yards and also has made kicks of 52 and 51 yards.
The 5-11, 225-pound Blevins, who was named the defensive MVP of last year’s state title game, leads the Pirates with 75 solo tackles, 48 assists, six tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Lankford was a reserve until an injury to the Pirates starting running back in the fourth game of the season. In just eight games as the starter, the sophomore has rushed for 1,680 yards, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry and 25 touchdowns. He also returned two kickoffs for TDs.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...